[MEMPHIS, TN] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today introduced the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act to help reduce veteran unemployment and train our nation’s heroes for the good-paying, high-demand jobs being created by innovative American small businesses. Congressman Cohen’s legislation would reauthorize the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), which helps train unemployed veterans for careers in high-demand occupations, through 2018.
“Our nation’s veterans put their lives on the line to secure our freedom and our safety,” said Congressman Cohen. “We must do all that we can to repay their sacrifices and help them get back on their feet when they return home. I am proud to introduce the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act to make sure that unemployed veterans have access to the support they need to find good-paying jobs in our 21st century economy.”
VRAP was created by the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011to help unemployed veterans access educational training programs that could lead to high-demand occupations including management, business and financial operations, protective service, healthcare, transportation, and many others. While the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) approved more than 126,000 applications from veterans seeking to enter the program, only 76,000 were enrolled before the program’s authorization expired last year. VRAP offered up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed Veterans who:
- Were at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
- Were unemployed on the date of application
- Received an other than dishonorable discharge
- Were not eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
- Were not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
- Were not enrolled in a federal or state job training program
Congressman Cohen’s Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Karen Bass (CA-37), Madeleine Bordallo (Guam-AL), David Cicilline (RI-01), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Robin Kelly (IL-02), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), George McGovern (MA-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Charles Rangel (NY-13), Bobby Rush (IL-01), Jose Serrano (NY-15), Niki Tsongas (MA-03), and Peter Welch (VT-AL).